“An oversupply situation could actually put upward pressure on electricity prices, so we step in, mop up all that excess hydropower and help keep electricity prices low for moms and dads, ”he says.

This is a noble goal for Iris, who hopes to counter some of Bitcoin’s massive environmental impact, given that the currency uses as much energy as all of Thailand on an annual basis.

But the company still has a ways to go before it makes a noticeable dent in Bitcoin’s energy consumption, with its center in British Columbia boasting a mining output of around 0.7 exahash, fueling a tiny part of the total Bitcoin network, which has an average daily hash rate of around 168 exahashs. Hashes refer to the combined total computational power required to power the Bitcoin network, with one exahash being a quintillion hashes per second.

Iris generated $ 14 million in revenue for the three months ending in late September, but recorded an after-tax loss of $ 678 million. The company debuted on the Nasdaq on Thursday with a moderate response, with stocks falling 12.9% from their US $ 28 listing price, a drop that coincided with a 12% drop. of the price of Bitcoin over the past week.

However, the successful IPO still values ​​Iris at around $ 1.6 billion and puts the Roberts brothers’ respective 10 percent stakes at around $ 160 million each. That’s a valuation that would likely have been unattainable if the company were listed locally, with Roberts saying the tech-rich Nasdaq was the obvious choice, given the many other Bitcoin miners already listed on the stock exchange.

“The Nasdaq seems like the logical home, especially given the size and scale of the company and the fact that our operations are primarily in North America and Canada,” he said.

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Other cryptocurrency companies in Australia have publicly criticized the Australian Securities Exchange for causing a “brain drain” of Australian cryptocurrency startups pursuing listings in other markets over party taken against them by the local stock exchange. Roberts disagrees, saying it wasn’t Iris’s experience.

“I haven’t spoken to ASX for about six months, but they have always been very constructive and very friendly in all of their interactions. They obviously have their own policies and goals as a company, but we made the decision a short while ago to go overseas and haven’t looked back, ”said Roberts.

Currently, Iris’s business is firmly focused on international markets across Canada, the United States and parts of Asia where the company can find renewable energy suppliers to power its energy-intensive plants. .

Roberts says Iris’s views are expected to remain international, despite a recent government proposal to give Australian Bitcoin miners a 10% reduction in the corporate tax rate if they use renewable energy for their operations.

“We will certainly consider [that policy], absolutely, ”he says. “Policy and regulatory support is important to our business, but we also want to make sure that when we enter a market, we solve the problems and deliver positive externalities to that market. “

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